Harbour Air: North America's first carbon-neutral airline
Credit: Flickr / BriYVZ

Harbour Air: North America's first carbon-neutral airline

Harbour Air is also the first seaplane company to reduce its carbon footprint through offsets, accessing the services of local company Offsetters 


Many people are able to reduce their carbon footprint with bikes, buses, or walking—for short, local trips. But when greater distances must be covered and flying is required, sticking to those green ideals is a lot harder.


Locally, Harbour Air has led the way in taking some of the CO2 out of the atmosphere when travellers take to the air.


In October 2007 Harbour Air became North America’s first carbon-neutral airline and the world's first seaplane company to use carbon offsets to mitigate the climate impacts of their flight services.

“It took a bit of time to educate the customers on how the offset program worked and where their money was going,” says Harbour Air sales and marketing manager Meredith Moll, “and then we had to do our due diligence so we could be completely transparent with how we were offsetting ourselves corporately as well. But once we did that people have really gotten on board with the program.”


Moll says other local carriers have followed suit in offering offset programs, but in this instance, being an early adopter was a smart business move.


“Government workers are mandated now to take a greener option, so being the first company to offer it was definitely a huge advantage for us.”


Harbour Air chose the local company Offsetters for its program. Offsetters was formed in 2005, after CEO Dr. James Tansey identified a need for a dependable source of high-quality offsets in BC. Since then, the company has landed a number of high-profile clients in addition to Harbour Air, including the Vancouver-Whistler 2010 Olympics, Saltspring Coffee, Vancity and Hemlock Printers.


“Harbour Air is taking bold steps to get in front of the curve on the crucial issue of climate change,” says Tansey. “For innovative companies, taking responsibility for reducing and offsetting their climate impact will be a benefit rather than a cost.”